Liberal thinking of the prince from the reigning Yam Tuan Negeri Sembilan household should be more democratized in his sought for information from the perspective of the truth and accuracy, rather than personal interpretations and dangerous assumptions.
Battle for democracy continues
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
SEPT 20 — The death of a polarising figure can harden opinions held while the person was alive. When Baroness Thatcher passed away earlier this year, some Britons celebrated in the streets with the ditty Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead while others solemnly sang I Vow to Thee, My Country as they followed her ceremonial funeral.
History is replete with leaders who can be viewed as heroes or villains, even centuries later.
Similarly, the death of Chin Peng in Bangkok on September 16 has triggered a reprise of arguments about the man and his legacy. I’d like to reiterate four points I’ve made before.
Firstly, all Malaysians should respect the emotions of those who lost relatives during our various conflicts (including the Emergency), and more generally pay tribute to those who died defending our land throughout history (including members of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army).
Secondly, Merdeka was achieved on August 31, 1957, with a democratically legitimate government in place, but the Communist Party of Malaya continued to wage a campaign of violence in the independent Federation of Malaya. Responsibility for many of the acts of terror and resultant deaths ultimately lay with its leader, Chin Peng.
This is important, because those who claim a parallel to the forgiveness towards Germany or Japan for past transgressions fail to distinguish between a national or institutional collective responsibility and individual responsibility. There are very different leaders in those countries today, and even the present Communist Party of
China is hardly like it was under Chairman Mao (symmetrically, Umno today is hardly like it was under Tunku Abdul Rahman), but individuals remain even if institutions change: last month, a nonagenarian former Nazi bodyguard was awaiting trial for acts committed 70 years ago.
Having said that, and thirdly, emotions should be separated from the legal aspects. If the Malaysian government made an agreement with the CPM concerning the right of party members to live in Malaysia, it should have been honoured. A democracy that fails to practise this basic element of rule of law tarnishes its reputation and damages its institutions. Worse still is the selective application of the agreement, especially on racial grounds.
Fourthly, much of today’s distortion and polarisation stems from ever-increasing political interference in the teaching of history. Some astonishing obituaries label Chin Peng a national hero simply because of his fight against the Japanese that got him appointed an OBE, completely ignoring his post-Merdeka record.
The reason why many people enthusiastically accept this truncated story is because they revile what they see as the government’s version of history, stuffed down their throats for political purposes. It encourages the attitude that whatever contradicts the government narrative must be correct. And so today, any government reference to history is met with scepticism and quickly divides citizens.
That is why the formulation of the history curriculum needs to be completely overhauled. The first priority is to erase the notion that history is merely about the memorisation of names and dates, and then politicians must be removed from the process of determining what should be taught. If this means competing versions of history emerge, then so be it. Citizens must be allowed to make up their own minds based on evidence: it is condescending to think otherwise. Genuine patriotism cannot exist if it is not voluntary.
For now, I invite my fellow citizens who glorify Chin Peng to imagine a country in which he was victor: a “People’s Democratic Republic”. Look at other such countries, and imagine the state of our economy, our international position in the world, and the fate of our ancient institutions, customs and religious traditions. If it doesn’t make you shudder, then you are welcome to swim across the Imjin River.
It is ironic that some see a symbolism in his death being on Malaysia Day, for Malaysia is a project that the Left never subscribed to: they derided it as a Western neo-imperialist plot (never mind China’s bankrolling of communists throughout Southeast Asia), even though the anti-communist stances of the leaders of the four territories enjoyed democratic legitimacy.
But perhaps the greater irony is that so many years after defeating the communists, our democracy has yet to fully cleanse anti-democratic elements from our politics. Too many of our leaders still promote detention without trial, media censorship, concentration of executive power and a command economy based on the principle that “government knows best”.
The death of Ong Boon Hua is cause for neither celebration nor mourning. Rather, we should mark the event by remembering the onerous circumstances in which our founding fathers achieved so much in the pursuit of liberty and justice, and to always battle against anti-democratic ideas.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.
The might of his position and availability of resources, HRH Tunku Zain Al Abidin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz should have done his homework properly before penning down his thoughts into the nation’s oldest newspaper.
The fact is that one of the generous offer made for the Hadyaii Accord inked on 2 December 1989 between the Malaysian Government and Communist Party of Malaya in Lee Gardens Hotel, Hadyaii is the right of return for communist rebels back to their hometown in Malaysia and Singapore.
That condition must be fulfilled by an application of each individuals, within one year of the agreement.
300 persons of the CPM applied and were placed back to where they wanted. These applications were made through the Royal Malaysian Police and vetted by the Home Ministry. CPM leaders such as Chairman, Musa Ahmad, Shamsiah Fakeh and Ibrahim Mohamad were amongst those who found solace in the company of kin.
However. the Malaysian Government did not receive such application from Ong Boon Hua or Chin Peng, who should have been known as the “Butcher of Malaya” for his leadership in the armed rebellion of 54 years.
This also explained by IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who is a non politician and never had been one.
Published: Tuesday September 17, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday September 17, 2013 MYT 10:30:02 AM
IGP: Chin Peng not a Malaysian citizen
PETALING JAYA: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng was never a Malaysian citizen despite being born in Sitiawan, Perak.
As such, the question of him being buried in Malaysia should not arise.
“Although he was born in Sitiawan, he was not a Malaysian citizen. He never took up citizenship when he joined the CPM. I believe he would be happy to be buried where he had spent time the most,” he said yesterday.
Khalid said all entry points into Malaysia were being tightly monitored to ensure there were no attempts to bring Chin Peng’s remains into the country.
Former IGP Tun Hanif Omar said Chin Peng’s body should not be allowed to be brought back to Malaysia, adding that he had fought CPM terrorists and subversive activities since his first day as a police officer in 1959 until his retirement.
He did not see why Chin Peng’s body should even be allowed into the country.
“We should look after those who stoutly fought and defeated him, particularly the families of those from all races who died or maimed fighting him and the CPM,” he told The Star yesterday.
Hanif said the CPM guerillas had refused the chance to return to Malaysia within a year from 1989 in accordance with the peace accord signed in Haadyai, Thailand.
One of those who had refused to return was Chin Peng, Hanif said, adding that the CPM was responsible for the killing of his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim.
“Surely we do not want him back without bringing him to face murder charges,” he said.
Hanif said any debate on the return of Chin Peng or his remains should cease.
“Those who campaigned for him have their loyalties misplaced or must have been supporters of the CPM’s violent insurrection to seize power in Malaysia,” he added.
Hanif said the police were generous with the terms in the Haadyai peace accord in 1989 and allowed all CPM members of Malaysian and Singaporean origin to return, provided that they must do so within a year of the signing.
“About 300 former communist terrorists returned, but we did not see any application from Chin Peng.
“When he applied to return many years after the agreement, he had effectively missed the boat and there was absolutely no reason to admit him unless he could prove he had applied within that one-year window,” he said.
Former Deputy IGP Tan Sri Hussin Ismail said instead of glorifying Chin Peng’s struggle, Malaysians should honour the men and women of the security forces who had fought the CPM.
“We should remember our friends and comrades who died protecting the country against communist insurgency. The fallen heroes should be honoured, not Chin Peng,” he said.
Hussin said there were those who were dismayed that past efforts at counter-insurgency ended at the Haadyai peace accord.
“They saw it as a political struggle. Any political struggle is a struggle for power, and that the CPM can be expected to employ various means from infiltration and subversion to revolutionary violence if the situation permits them,” he added.
It was reaffirmed by another non-politician Former IGP Tun Mohamed Hanif Omar, who was a signatory to the Hadyaii Accord.
It is baffling why Tunku Abidin, who is founding member and President of IDEAS, did not call on Hanif considering the latter’s role in combatting the communist rebels for 34 years of his professional career and others who are still around and part of Hadyaii Accord, such as Former IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor.
Then again, it is mind boggling why he did not notice this point about Chin Peng did not apply to return until much later as it appeared in The Star, an English daily which the British trained prince used to write and share his thoughts.
Tunku Abidin should have been more precarious in any attempt to share his liberal thoughts, which often reflected in the deficit of intellectualism when the inaccuracy of facts is prevalent. Needless to say, this not the first time he did this. It is an irony for him to challenge the instances of “Anti-democracy” is his writings, since he was courted by the most undemocratic political party in the country.
It would shameful considering of his upbringing, surrounding and now in his attempt to portray his grouping’s of the new generation Malays with so called ‘A more balanced view’ of situation and analysis. Despite the thick the British upper middle class accent, what is certain is that Tunku Abidin is often out of context and knows very little.